5 Things to Do in Vancouver BC

Vancouver is one of those rare cities that makes city and nature lovers happy! Surrounded by water and mountains (truly spectacular views!), it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise. The downtown area is thriving with unique neighborhoods to explore, a foodie’s dream destination, and many cultural events.

My husband and I spent a long weekend in Vancouver last September. With his niece doing a semester study abroad there it was a perfect chance for his first visit to Canada (also a good test of traveling outside of the U.S. with his green card – happy to say he was let back in! 😉 ). I had visited Vancouver a couple previous times, but always attending conferences – so much more time to explore this trip! These are the 5 things you shouldn’t miss in Vancouver:

1. Granville Island

Our hotel was only about a 5 minute walk from here, so we spent a morning exploring the famous public market. The market was bustling with tourists and locals! It overflows with gorgeous produce and flowers from the surrounding valleys. The shops were mainly local artisans selling their hand made goods. Loved being able to see them making their products – from wood, fabric, soap, etc… In the food hall we listened to local musicians as we enjoyed our noodle bowls (Vancouver has a very Asian inspired food scene).

2. Vancouver Harbor

We spent quite a bit of time there people watching, viewing the gorgeous sky line, and watching the seaplanes take off and land. It was the end of the Alaska cruise season so I loved getting to see some of my favorite cruise ships come and go as well! We also went to the Flyover Canada flight simulation ride… feet dangling as you see dazzling images of Canada! Even though it’s a bit of a wait in line (they do have an express line for a few extra dollars) it’s a great activity to do for all ages (especially recommended if you’re traveling with kids). It’s also a fun thing to do on a rainy day!

3. Stanley Park

Vancouver’s own Central Park is not to be missed! We spent an afternoon there enjoying the beautiful flowers and phenomenal view of the city! It’s also a great place to visit if you’re traveling with kids, as it has totem poles, an aquarium, wildlife (we saw a family of raccoons on our walk) for entertainment. There are numerous paths throughout the park and we also enjoyed the walk around it’s seawall (you can also rent bikes to cruise the trails), taking in even more beautiful views of the harbor.

4. Gastown

This is a fun neighborhood to explore, as it’s a very short walk from the harbor. We meandered through it’s cobblestone streets; which are a mix of high end furniture shops, clothing boutiques, tourist shops and restaurants. Being beer lovers, we quickly discovered the Steamworks Brewery! If you like craft beer then this is definitely a stop for you (we recommend the Jasmine IPA)! Being from Colorado we are a little spoiled with many local breweries; but the Canadian local brew was worth the taste!

5. Yaletown

The former warehouse district is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Vancouver! It has an abundance of outdoor cafes, boutique hotels, shopping and is the place to go for nightlife. We also noticed numerous barber shops – so if in need of a cut or style while visiting, this is the area to go!

Travel by Kris tips for Vancouver:

  • Vancouver is the perfect pre or post add-on for an Alaskan cruise!
  • Vancouver is an expensive city, but with the dollar strong against the Canadian dollar (as of January 2016) it makes it a much better value.
  • A taxi ride to and from the airport to downtown is fairly inexpensive at about 20 Canadian dollars. They are abundant, regulated and easy to find.
  • If you have longer than a weekend I suggest day trips to Vancouver Island or into the mountains to Whistler Ski Resort.
  • Pack a raincoat and umbrella – it doesn’t get this lush and green with 365 days of sunshine a year! 😉

Until the next adventure – bon voyage!


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Hi, I'm Kris de Vogel

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